Commentary: Heritage Center Adrift?

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(Sacramento, CA)
Friday, March 23, 2007

The city’s original plan was to split the Indian interpretive center in two. Build one part on the south side of the American River at Richards Boulevard and the other along the American River parkway on the north side of the river near Northgate Boulevard. Under the city’s rather grandiose plan, the two sections would have been connected by a pedestrian bridge.

But a state task force decided the city’s plan was too complex, the bridge component in particular too costly and uncertain. They voted to abandon all efforts to buy land on Richards Boulevard and to refocus on the Parkway site near Northgate. The city needs to regroup or risk losing this project. And that would be a shame.

Just minutes from downtown Sacramento, the Northgate site is a tranquil river paradise that’s been overrun in recent years with homeless campers. The interpretive center could rescue that stretch of the river. It could be a beautiful tribute to the original inhabitants of this land, a wonderful educational opportunity for all Californians, and a first rate amenity for Sacramento and the region.

But it’s at risk now. The city must move expeditiously to keep the dream alive, or the task force has said it will start looking elsewhere.


Ginger Rutland writes for the Sacramento Bee Opinion pages.